Happy New Year! I know it’s been a long time since I wrote a blog post and I’ve had so many gorgeous messages from you to ask how our first Aussie Christmas has been so I wanted to let you know that although we’ve travelled to the other side of the world, we haven’t actually fallen off it!
The festive period has been a real time of reflection for me. People have asked it’s made me miss home more and the answer is, I don’t think that’s possible! It feels like as the heat has increased here in Melbourne my sense of separation from the life I knew in England has grown with it and the traditions I’ve always associated with this time of year (that you can see in my previous posts about Christmas) have vanished. No more shopping trips in the rain accompanied by songs everywhere I went, no more family visiting and chasing the kids around the house, whipping them into a frenzy of excitement, no pantomime for the kids to look forward to or crazy dates and dinners with friends that require sparkly new outfits and handbags to match.
With Ste at home from work and the kids summer holidays from school in full swing, Christmas this year has been so chilled out it actually felt like a real break from the routine and sitting on the beach in the 30 degree heat on the big day itself, Ste and I both discussed how it felt like we were ‘on holiday’, not just down the road from our new home at the local beach. We treated the kids to new body boards, snorkels, noodles and all kinds of paraphernalia for the sea and went to the beach every day for about a week. It couldn’t have been more different than the Christmas traditions we had back home if we’d tried but what I can’t figure out is which version I prefer.
I want to tell you more about the way I’ve been feeling lately in another post as I always make sure I’m as honest as I can be when I write to you so if you are planning a move over here, you know what to expect. But for now, here’s some pictures from the past few weeks if you’d like to see.
Ariana made us super proud when she graduated kindergarten just before the Christmas season kicked off. The way she came to a new country and walked into a new school with complete confidence has really blown me away. She made new friends, learned new skills and made memories for us all to treasure.
The countdown to Christmas Eve was as magical as ever and when the day came, we gave the kids their new ‘surf boards’ early and took them to the beach! There’s so many to choose from here on the Mornington Peninsula and we’re only just learning which are safest for the kids to enjoy with relatively minimal stress for us. Our favourites are Mills Beach where the water is so clear and shallow, they can walk out for a while before the temperature of the water drops enough to encourage them back to the shore and Frankston where there’s a great restaurant and a pier for Ste to jump off if the mood takes him!
We enjoyed a lovely dinner at Sophia’s in Franskton, which has become our favourite place to eat out with the kids (which is all we can do these days since those babsitters of ours are thousands of miles away!) The food is great, the kids are so welcome they even order their own food now and the staff tell them to finish their broccolli. The price is great and the wine comes so quickly, eating out with the kids suddenly becomes easier than eating with them at home!
A tradition that remained here was a little knock on the door from ‘Santa’s Elves’ in the evening. The kids found gingerbread houses, new pyjamas and chocolates waiting for them the night before Christmas and we tucked them into bed just in time to stuff their sacks under the tree and collect our new kitten ready to surprise them in the morning.
I’ll never forget the amount of clothes changes or the amount of love the kids had for their new cat on Christmas morning. Ariana instantly fell in love and named him Mittens and our new Ragdoll became officially the most cuddled kitty in the whole of Melbourne (and quite possibly Australia).
We headed straight to the beach (again) when presents had been opened and we’d enjoyed a full English breakfast complete with Mimosa’s to drink and after a couple of hours of testing out their new beach toys we were back at home in the garden enjoying the Christmas present I gave to Ste – OUR FIRST AUSSIE BBQ! We he made flame grilled koubideh and joujeh kebabs while I made Persian rice and a beautiful Salad Olivieh to enjoy (recipes you can find here in my ebook of Persian recipes). It was by far the most relaxed Christmas Day I can ever remember with gorgeous food, happy kids, sunshine and only ourselves to please. The highlight of course was chatting to our family and friends back home and I loved popping open a bottle of Prosecco on a video call with my bestie of 25 years, Caz.
On Boxing Day, we woke up refreshed and ready to begin a new tradition by heading to the cinema. We had counted the days until Moana was released and we weren’t dissapointed, if you haven’t seen it yet – do it! The kids have dragged us twice already and we weren’t even complaining (well, maybe just about the price of it over here but the cost of living is for another blog post too!)
Hope you had a wonderful time. I really am sorry my posts have been few and far between since we got to Melbourne but that’s simply because the time I get to myself to sit and write is more limited than ever. I know you still visit us and I am really grateful for all the messages you send that remind me we’ve definitely not fallen off the face of the earth! Let’s catch up soon!
Love from Leyla